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The Carriage House in Rye reopens with new ownership

By KIMBERLEY HAAS
Union Leader Correspondent

April 18. 2018 8:59PM
The Carriage House in Rye has undergone renovations and is open for dinner again. (KIMBERLEY HAAS/Union Leader Correspondent)



James Woodhouse and R.J. Joyce were forced to close their Italian restaurant in Portsmouth because of fire damage. They are the new owners of The Carriage House in Rye, which they reopened Tuesday. (COURTESY)

RYE — The Carriage House in Rye reopened this week with new owners.

The historic restaurant at 2263 Ocean Blvd., built in 1931, was sold to R.J. Joyce and James Woodhouse by longtime owner Paul Mackey when he retired earlier this year.

Renovations began in February after Joyce and Woohouse financed the purchase of the restaurant with a Small Business Administration loan from Newburyport Five Cents Savings Bank.

Joyce and Woodhouse were forced to close Louie’s, an Italian restaurant in Portsmouth, last April because of damage from a fire at the neighboring State Street Saloon. The Carriage House marks the third restaurant for the duo, who have been best friends since high school. They greeted their first patrons at The Carriage House on Tuesday night.

The owners have been working to restore the two-story interior while adding some modern updates. The ground level was transformed into a light and bright space showcasing the beauty of Rye Beach across the road. The upstairs bar and dining room features new wood floors and steel gray walls where James Audubon’s “Birds of America” series is the focus. A wood-burning fireplace remains a cozy nook for a cocktail or dinner. Woodhouse said creating exceptional moments in hospitality is his team’s focus and that they hope to exceed everyone’s expectations.

“We are so thrilled to welcome back the community to experience The Carriage House, and we hope they really like what they see,” Woodhouse said. “We know The Carriage House means so much to so many people, and we are committed to continuing that tradition.”

Executive Chef Brett Cavanna, who worked with Joyce and Woodhouse at Louie’s in the same capacity, also has an ownership stake in The Carriage House.

Cavanna says he feels at home by the ocean and is inspired by the fishermen and farmers he works with on a daily basis. The raw bar features oysters, crudo and caviar, while the daily Blue Plate Special is a rotating menu that gives nod to the restaurant’s history. The dinner menu includes lobster, steak, lamb and chicken dishes. Fish chowder, steamed clams and fried quail are on the appetizer menu.

The Carriage House will be open Sunday to Thursday from 5 to 9 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 5 to 10 p.m. Plans are to open the restaurant for lunch during the summer months, and Sunday brunch will begin April 29 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For reservations, call 964-8251.


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